Monday, November 10, 2014

Skool Daze!

Is anyone bothering to look over the cream of the crop running for North Vancouver School Board? Nineteen people chasing after seven positions.

In the City, seven candidates for three spots; in the District twelve people are vying to fill four spaces.

There's really not much chance that I'll spend hours looking at all of these people's Facebook or web pages.  (see below) I have though seen the sudden flurry of activity on Twitter - My God! What busy beavers these people suddenly seem to have become! It's nice to know that those charged with overseeing our children's education can express themselves in 140 characters or less.

I did read the North Shore News' profiles of all nineteen people. What's actually kind of sad is that you would have to look long and hard to find any difference between them all.

Have Kids? YES!
Active in PACS? YES?
Think we should sell schools? NO! (Unless we really need to.)
Montessori, IB? YES!
Role of School Boards? Community Voice! Planning and Finances! Something about communication with the Province!

Since what was on the NS News site didn't tell me anything, I did visit the websites for the eighteen people who had them.

No matter what your political stripe, the recent battle between the BCTF and the Liberal government was the single biggest issue for anyone involved in education. It's staggering that only one candidate even hinted that there are problems with how the Province handles education.

If you support the way that Christy handled those negotiations I want to know. And regardless of what you think, I want to hear about how you view the relationship between the Province and local Boards.

If you, as a School Board candidate, haven't thought long and hard about this I sure as heck don't want you on the Board.

And one more thing - if you're running for School Board you should realize that spelling and grammar do count towards your final grade.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Town Centres & Density in DNV

 A town centre, ought to have a centre. Call it a public square, a ‘commons’ or a piazza. There must be a large, central publicly owned space for people to gather. This is the foundational element for successful town centres. Around that centre, density. A mix of homes, businesses, services and activities that make the central square the place you want to be. The centre must have gravitational pull. It’s a design challenge that many don’t succeed with. But around the world there are proven town centre successes. Portland is one. Copenhagen another. In the 1970s Copenhagen removed cars from the centre of town and replaced them with human feet. It was a great success. The community has considerable density – density that’s seldom higher than 5 storeys. It’s social for people, for meeting, walking, shopping, cycling, using transit, and it allows cars on its periphery – but it’s not so car dependent that a lack of one creates impediments to happy living. And it’s a safer environment for everyone, especially for children and elders.
While North Vancouver is not Copenhagen or Portland, there are design lessons and insights for our community. We have much more study and conceptual work to do if we are to create successful town centres that enrich community life. Town centres are so important to our future, our municipal government should not hand over leadership to real estate developers as they did in Lynn Valley. While developers are valuable and necessary participants in our projects, their interests are not directly aligned with community needs – as demonstrated by Vancouver’s current ‘nobody’s home/lights out’ vacant condos.
In the case of Lynn Valley Town Centre, the approach employed by Council, letting Bosa drive the bus, was stressful for the community and the outcome is mixed. After all the debate and study, transportation, traffic and transit issues were never properly addressed. We will find ourselves with more roads that could have been human spaces, more cars to congest Mountain Highway, Lynn Valley Road, Keith Road and Highway #1 entry points. And still no centre for this ‘town’.
© Len Laycock, October 2014. More at

Monday, November 03, 2014

Council watchers interviewed by 24 Hour News

As part of a continuing election series investigating all the municipalities in Metro Vancouver, Lyle Craver and John Sharpe are asked about the issues in the two North Vancouver's.

                                        Articles are on pages 6 and 7.